CNN correspondent labeled Safire's smear of Hillary Clinton "journalism"


On the November 29 edition of CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, CNN correspondent Mary Snow reported that New York Times columnist William Safire, who is retiring in January 2005, "is praised not just for his columns, but for his journalism." Citing a 1996 column as one of three examples of Safire's praiseworthy "journalism," Snow stated: "In the Clinton years, he once called Hillary Clinton a congenital liar for her role in the Whitewater scandal."

But Safire's January 1996 column calling Hillary Clinton a "congenital liar" was just one example of the numerous false accusations Safire leveled against Bill and Hillary Clinton. As Joe Conason noted in a March 14, 2000, article:

Making headlines with a 1996 column branding the first lady a "congenital liar," he [Safire] confidently predicted that her lost-and-found Rose Law Firm billing records would prove "her involvement in a fraudulent land deal" called Castle Grande. On several occasions, apparently misled by his own sources, the columnist has blathered about her imminent indictment; and once, Safire even advised the president to hire separate legal counsel for his own protection.

Four years and tens of millions of dollars later, the first lady remains unindicted except in the minds of Safire and right-wing conspiracy nuts. According to the 1996 Pillsbury report, those billing records confirmed Mrs. Clinton's earlier testimony about her legal work in voluminous detail. By now it is hard not to wonder whether Safire -- who haughtily condemns "White House incompetence" -- ever bothered to read that federal report, which dismissed theories tying her to Castle Grande wrongdoing as "strained at best." Or whether he is aware that in testimony at Susan McDougal's contempt trial last year, deputy independent counsel W. Hickman Ewing admitted that despite his own Herculean efforts, no evidence pertinent to an indictment of the first lady was ever presented to any grand jury.

Media Matters for America has compiled a sampling of Safire's history of unsupported statements, distortions, and outright falsehoods. Click here for these further examples of Safire's "journalism."

Propaganda/Noise Machine, Hillary Clinton
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